With the cream having been taken picks 7-12 can be tricky, and if someone has unexpectedly fallen to pick 7 ( we think that Morris Claiborne might still be around) then there could be some frantic trading action. Anyway here’s how we see it.
Pick 7 Jacksonville Jaguars – WR Michael Floyd Notre Dame
This will be where a trade might come in as Morris Claiborne will be a big temptation for several teams picking further down the draft, and we would not be surprised if the Jags take him as a best available pick. However they really need a quality WR if Gabbert is to have any chance of shining in 2012 and big Michael Floyd would be the ideal choice. At 6-3 and 220lbs he will be a handful for any corner, and he has the look of a young Larry Fitzgerald about him playing style wise. We think he will definitely go in the top 12 so any trade down would be a risk and overall we think the Jags wont take that chance.
Pick 8 Miami Dolphins – CB Morris Claiborne LSU
The Dolphins biggest needs are QB and WR, however we think that if Morris Claiborne is still there at 8 it will be too tempting as they need depth at CB and Claiborne is a bargain at this level of the draft. QB Ryan Tannehill is probably on their shopping list too, however given there is no one likely to snap him up waiting close behind them, they could possibly trade back into the late 1st round and get him then. They could also do with a WR but again this can be addressed latter.
Pick 9 Carolina Panthers- DT Fletcher Cox Mississippi St
The Panthers have lost Steve Smith and need a WR badly, however we think they will address this and their need for a Corner in rounds 2 & 3 and unless but some miracle Morris Claiborne or Michael Floyd are still around then they will address their defensive frailties with DT Fletcher Cox. They could also consider Dontari Poe who was higely impressive at the combines ( we think he will be a future Pro Bowl NT though), David DeCastro who would help ensure Cam Newton gets plenty of protection or possibly Dre Kirkpatrick at CB. However OG is not a key need and there are a few promising CBs who should be around in round 2 so we will stick with them addressing the defense and we give the edge to Cox over Poe (just).
Pick 10 Buffalo Bills DE Quinton Coples North Carolina
The Bills flattered to deceive in 2011, (not helped by injuries of course) but overall in our opinion their main weakness was at pass rush with no one reaching 6 sacks for the season. They have partially addressed this with the signing of Mario Williams, and with Quinton Coples added to the defense they would look quite menacing. The other option they have is to address their WR issues and if Michael Floyd is still hanging around he could be a consideration. QB Ryan Tannehill could also be in their reckoning however they like us probably feel that Ryan Fitzpatrick is good enough to guide the team if he has enough talent around him.
Pick 11 Kansas City Chiefs DT/NT Dontari Poe Memphis
Assuming Dontari Poe is still on the board at 11 he will be a Chief in 2012. Although they also need an OT Poe who ran an amazing 4.98 40 yard dash at the combines (he is 346lbs !!!) would be great value here and given they need cover at NT he would be too good to miss. They do need a Right sided Tackle and if Riley Reiff is still around they would consider him, however we expect he will be long gone so Poe its is.
Pick 12 Seattle Seahawks – ILB Luke Kuechly Boston College
The Seahawks having picked up QB Matt Flynn and having re-signed Marshawn Lynch could be in for a good 2012, and those signings have removed two obvious draft possibilities. They still have issues though and the most pressing is at Inside Line Backer which they should address with Luke Kuechly. Other players they may consider include David DeCastro who would be good cover for Frank Omiyale (who we are not entirely convinced about) or DE Courtney Upshaw.
13-18 Will be covered in our next article.